Monday, August 17, 2009

Forest Park

Forest Park is the perfect name for this enormous Portland city park. One of the country's largest urban forest reserves, it covers more than 5,100 acres of land in the west hills overlooking the Willamette and Columbia River valleys. It would take many visits to explore the entire trail system, which is about 80 miles in length.

My buddy and I initially tried to enter off NW Alexandra Ave by the bridge, but we got nowhere fast and ended up turning around once we found a suspicious-looking tent. We eventually found the trail head down and around off NW Thurman St. It was a nice trail head with a fair amount of parking on the street and there was even a water fountain. We took Leif Erikson Drive to Wild Cherry Trail to Wildwood Trail to Dogwood Trail and looped back down Wild Cherry. Very nice loop.

It was much steeper than I thought it would be. Worked up a nice sweat. The whole area we were in was absolutely covered with trees (as forests should be), so unfortunately there was not much of a view of the city. But, hey, that's what Rocky Butte is for...the view. Forest Park is for the hiking and exploring. And the huge slugs. I found this tasty specimen on the Wildwood Trail.

We certainly enjoyed the hike and it's amazing that such a large wilderness is inside the city. It was easy to forget we were just a hop, skip, and a jump away from Portland's bustling downtown.

More photos here.

Riedlblog label: Parks